There are some who say the sewer rats in New York are the biggest, but they aren’t even close to the sheer magnitude of the capybara. The capybaras are a very vocal rodent with a host of predators and a voracious appetite for vegetation. Read more about these incredible creatures and, as always, don’t forget to comment below.
First the Stats…
Mass: 77 – 150 lbs (Adult)
Height: 20 – 25 in. (Adult, At the withers)
Length: up to 4 feet
Scientific name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Lifespan: Up to 8 – 10 years (in the wild) | Up to 12+ (in captivity)
Now on to the Facts!
1.) The capybara is a herbivore (it eats plants). Eighty percent of their diet consists of only five different species of grasses. However, they will happily accept fruits and vegetables in captivity. Capybaras regurgitate their food and re-chew it to aid in digestion.
2.) Capybaras also eat their own feces to help with digesting their meals. This practice is called coprophagy.
3.) When they sense danger, the capybara will emit a barking noise. They are also very vocal animals that make other noises like whistles, purrs, grunts, and squeals.
4.) The male will spray a stinky urine-like substance from their hind quarters to mark their territory and will also urinate on the females to claim rights to them. Females also release a similar substance to notify the male that they are receptive to mating.
5.) You can often see them in groups of 10-40. In drier seasons they come together in masses of around 100 capybaras!
But wait, there’s more on the capybara!
Did you know…?
The capybara eats around 8 pounds of grass a day!
6.) Capybaras are excellent swimmers and spend a majority of their time in the water. They are also capable of holding their breath for around 5 minutes or more. There are dangers in the water though, in the form of anacondas and caimans.
7.) A capybara female has 1 litter a year that consists of around 4 pups. The pups will drink their mother’s milk for about 4 months, but will begin grazing after just a few days.
8.) Their name roughly means one who eats slender leaves in the Tupi language.
9.) Like many other rodents, capybaras mostly hop, rather than walk!
10.) The feet of a capybara are slightly webbed. This helps them maintain their balance in their marshy environment. They also have vestigial tails. This means that their tails are basically useless.